Saturday, May 30, 2009

Union officially name Nowak first team manager

CHESTER, PA (May 29, 2009) – Philadelphia Union, slated to begin its inaugural season as Major League Soccer's 16th team in 2010, today announced Peter Nowak as the club's first ever Team Manager.

Nowak, 44, has won MLS Cups as both player and coach, the only individual to have accomplished the feat in league history. A captain of the Polish National team for three years, Nowak most recently served a dual role as Head Coach of the Under-23 U.S. Men’s National Team and Assistant to Bob Bradley with the full national team. Nowak will be responsible for all facets of the club's training and on-field performance, and will report directly to Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz.

"Peter possesses the competitiveness, passion and discipline necessary to build a club from scratch and compete for a championship from day one," said Philadelphia Union Chairman Jay Sugarman. "His extensive domestic and international scouting network, coupled with a deep understanding of the game from being a world-class player, will be invaluable for our club. We were determined to find an individual who is well respected in the global soccer community, understands the unique structure of MLS and, most importantly, has demonstrated the ability to win."

In 2004, Nowak led D.C. United to a championship in his rookie season as Head Coach after he had led the expansion Chicago Fire to the 1998 MLS Cup title in his first season in the league as a player. He is the only coach in the last half century of U.S. sports to win a championship within two years of retiring as a player.

"Peter’s toughness and attacking style of play on both ends of the pitch mirror the hard-working attitude of our fans and the entire Philadelphia region," said Sakiewicz. “Peter demands that his teams play with a clear purpose, combining creativity with a relentlessness that breeds success. We are structuring our technical staff such that our Team Manager will be on the sideline during matches but also play a substantial role in personnel decisions. Peter is an ideal fit to lead our club in the critical, formative months ahead, and for years to come."

Nowak began his 23-year professional playing career in his native Poland in 1979 when he was just 15 years old. After stops in Turkey and Switzerland, he moved to Germany and Dynamo Dresden before joining Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern in 1994. Transferring to 1860 Munich the following year, he earned Best Playmaker of the Year honors for the 1995-96 Bundesliga season.

After joining the Chicago Fire for their inaugural MLS season, Nowak promptly established himself as one of the league's premier players. Nowak patrolled the Fire’s midfield for five years, being named to the MLS Best XI three times. In 2005, as part of its tenth anniversary celebrations, Major League Soccer named Nowak to its All-Time Best XI, a selection of the best eleven players in the history of the league.

After working in the Fire front office for one year following his retirement, Nowak was named Head Coach of D.C. United in 2004. In his first year, Nowak led his team to a 3-2 MLS Cup victory against the Kansas City Wizards after the team had finished no better than fourth in the Eastern Conference during the previous four years. In three years with United, Nowak led the team to a combined 42-27-25 regular season record, including winning the Supporters’ Shield for best regular season record in 2006 with a 15-7-10 record. Nowak’s career.609 winning percentage ranks among the top-five all-time for MLS coaches.

Nowak has worked with both the full national team and the U-23’s since December of 2006. Together with Bradley, Nowak coached over 70 players between both teams and orchestrated the USA’s championship winning run in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"I am extremely grateful for my time with U.S. Soccer, but the chance to join an organization that is in the process of defining its identity was an opportunity I could not turn down," said Nowak. "Our supporters are already notorious for their passion and it is our mission to put a team on the field that is worthy of their loyalty. Our responsibility is to build a club that leaves everything on the field and represents the Philadelphia region proudly."

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